U.S. Hands Off Syria – Because Attacking People in Syria is Unacceptable; Because Genocide is Unacceptable
Members of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective participated and endorsed Friday’s “U.S. Hands Off Syria, We Need Jobs Not War” protest. The event was initiated and organized by our friends at the Bainbridge Collective and the Defenders of Freedom, Justice, and Peace.
We were glad to see a response to the recent aggression from the Obama Administration towards Syria. We were glad to see everyone there who came out to show resistance to the Military Industrial Complex and blood-hungry US Imperialist government.
However, some aspects of this protest were troubling to us and deserve thoughtful, respectful critique. The rhetoric of “We Need Jobs Not War” seems to aim to appeal to the unemployed or underemployed people living in Amerikkka with the hopes to draw them into the anti-war movement. The problem with that rhetoric however, is that it is US-centric and ultimately misleading as to the intentions of the US government to legitimately provide basic needs for people living within Amerikkkan borders. The reasons we shouldn’t go to war with Syria are numerous and ultimately should have more to do with our compassion for and solidarity with the people of Syria than our desires for jobs at home. And really, how can we make demands of a government that exists off the daily exploitation and genocide of peoples within the US and around the world and the destruction of the earth? Why would we believe that the funds used in Amerikkkan wars would ever be used in an alternative, positive way when consistently, across Amerikkka, as schools are shut down in poor, People of Color neighborhoods, cities are spending millions building new jails for the school-to-prison pipeline.
An inherently oppressive government will never grant the right to dignified work to workers of Amerikkka, who they label illegal and criminal, and whose communities are attacked with chemical warfare through environmentally racist plants and landfills. How can we demand jobs from a government where labor unions are consistently busted with the iron fist of Amerikkkan corporations? How can we demand fair jobs from a government that uses prisoner slave labor as a means of production and uses chemical warfare against them when they rebel?
The United States of Amerikkka is not interested in mutual aid where our work is respected and is inherent to our collective survival. Though we cannot make these demands of the US government, we can challenge ourselves to show solidarity with strikers on the picket lines; with truckers shutting down ports; with undocumented workers creating community gardens to feed their families as the food they pick in the fields is hauled thousands of miles away; with prison hunger strikers. We can challenge ourselves to produce what we need in our communities because a government hell bent on imperialism and transnational domination will never meet our needs. And we can never show solidarity with people being killed by the Amerikkkan police and military if we dichotomously denounce and ask for the help of the government.
We want to support the Syrian people in their revolutionary struggle for their own liberation; perhaps one way to do this is by creating mutual-aid in our own communities, and thereby rejecting reliance on the US war machine, attacking poverty drafting into the military. In acknowledging the struggle for liberation in Syria, we recognize US intervention would not be the beginning of but a bloody addition to the conflict in Syria. We acknowledge people living in Syria are the only people who can legitimately create self-determination, and decide what that looks like, for themselves. It is so important to stand against US imperialism; though we also challenge ourselves and others to stand in solidarity with peoples struggling against oppressive states regardless of/before US involvement and to strive for a broader scope of understanding to the complexities of struggle outside a Western lens. We also recognize that we do not currently have communication with folks in Syria or from Syria with the exception of a few anarchist articles on Syria or by people living in Syria. Showing solidarity with the people of Syria means demanding nothing less than absolute autonomy, within all the constructed borders of the world. And that is a demand that no government will ever grant but must be created; it must be built upon the ashes of a government that can exist and has only existed off the blood of the exploited.
We should continue to hold protests and actions against US Imperialism, all genocidal states, and in fierce solidarity with those who struggle for liberation; and our critique is not meant to attack organizers or participants of Friday’s protest. We hope that this will promote more conversation and awareness of the multitude of intersectional issues that come into play every time the US Government decides to use force to interfere in other countries. Our desires and needs will not be fulfilled by Amerikkka’s creation of more exploitative jobs. We don’t think yours will be either. Next time we meet on the streets we hope to hear rallying cries for autonomy and self-determination in the spirit of mutual-aid and collective freedom for the people in Syria as well all those around the world struggling for liberation. We deserve it.